Yesterday I went for a walk up the Longmynd with a friend (and a dog). We started in Cardingmill Valley in Church Stretton and walked a long loop up which took us to the end of the valley, up on the moor on the top of the hill, to the highest point at Pole Bank – 516 m (1,693 ft) – and then down again via a parallel valley. Then we had jacket potatoes in the Cardingmill Valley café, which I felt we had earned (It was a very late lunch – nearly 4pm!). We had missed the nice weather, and it was cold and grey, but warm enough once you got moving.
I didn’t measure the route beforehand, guessing about 5 miles, but it turned out to be nearly 9 miles. It would have been 7 miles, but for an unplanned detour – ie, took the wrong turning. We took a planned detour on the return leg of the walk, through the old rectory wood. The walk took us almost exactly 4 hours.
This was, of course, a fine opportunity for photography. After long deliberation – a couple of hours, at least – I decided which of my 20-odd cameras to bring. I took my Fuji XF1 and my new camera, a Voigtlander Bessa (1946 version, loaded with Fuji Neopan Acros 100 B&W). I won’t get the Bessa negatives back for a week, which is one reason I took the Fuji.
One of my more recent camera purchases has a neat feature: you can take the lens off and use it as a pinhole camera. Photos taken like this have a dreamy look to them, or sometimes surreal. These are my first shots to be developed (apart from 2 on a previous roll that didn’t come out that well).
Flooded Park #1
These were taken in the Quarry Park in Shrewsbury, where the river Severn has burst its banks.
Flooded Park #2
I get confused sometimes which shots were pinhole and which were normal, as I can change from shot to shot with this camera. Generally the focus on shots taken with the lens look sharper, but I can’t always tell…
I was worried about how these shots were going to come out. For a start, the Recesky (or Gakkenflex) is a plastic camera I assembled myself, plus there is almost nothing you can adjust on it. The focus can be moved a little, but it is quite difficult to tell what effect you are having.
As it was, it wasn’t so bad. There are a couple that were taken in too-dark light conditions and have hardly come out at all. The rest of them are ok, considering. I can’t wait until we get some actual sunshine, I’m sure I’ll get better photos then.
Arch in The Quarry Park
Porthill Bridge, Twice
It can be a bit of a pain getting what you want in the viewfinder, the image is left-right inverted. It can get very confusing. I can’t wait until there is some regular sunlight, I’m sure the quality will improve…
I have decided I need a new camera. My old Fuji seems to have died after number of years of excellent service. It was ‘only’ 8megapixels, but I got loads of really good shots with it. I am most likely camping/beaching with my friends this summer, so I’ll need one by then.
I know there’s a camera on my mobile phone¹, but a dedicated camera will be better than a mobile phone². So, I am on the lookout.
But after a couple of hours looking a review pages of just 3 cameras I am tearing my hair out trying to make sense of the technical specifications and everyone’s conflicting opinions of image quality and so on . So I think in the end my choice will come down to which is the best looking camera.
¹ My old-old Nokia N73 still works, and I have taken some brilliant shots with that. I could use it without a SIM I guess.
² Cameras are designed to be held while photos are taken, phones are designed to look sleek, which can be a problem.